Donald Messier, a Waterbury, Vermont native and enthusiastic NASCAR fan, is consistently described as a super nice guy, and no one has a bad word to say about him.
He is greatly loved by his family and his many friends. His sister Amy Currier said that while Donnie had admittedly been going through a rough time due to his recent divorce on the day of his disappearance, things were looking up. Donnie is universally described by friends and family as a hard worker, a true friend who would give you his last dollar if you needed it, and a homebody who rarely traveled. He worked two jobs - the night shift at the Green Mountain Coffee Roaster Plant in Waterbury, as well as a part-time job at Billings Mobil gas station in the same town. Described as a “gentle giant” and a “teddy bear of a man”, Donnie has a mustache and goatee, a small birthmark on his neck, a scar on his chin, and surgical scars on both wrists from carpal tunnel surgery. He was last seen wearing a black and blue plaid button-up shirt, blue jeans, work boots, and possibly a hat. His nicknames are Donnie and Bubba, and he is also affectionately referred to as Mule or Huggy Bear by those close to him. He is a beloved son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend to many. His family and friends are heartbroken over his disappearance, and they need answers.
It was a typical Saturday leading up to Donnie’s disappearance before things turned strange. On October 15, 2006, the 34 year old man left a house party in the nearby town of Waitsfield in the early hours of Sunday morning and seemingly vanished into thin air. Even stranger, his bright red 1997 Ford F-150 truck vanished with him. On the day of his disappearance, he was joking and in good spirits, and had exhibited signs that he was ready to move on from his recent depression, which was confirmed by his therapist. He worked until 3:00,pm that Saturday at his part-time job at Billings Mobil in Waterbury, then went to his grandfather’s shop to do some brake work until late afternoon. In the early evening, he went to watch a NASCAR race with a friend in Duxbury, then moved on to a gathering in nearby Waitsfield, Vermont, where he was last seen leaving between 12:30-2:00,am Sunday morning, October 15.
At first, Donnie’s sister Amy Currier wasn’t too worried when Donnie didn’t return home after the party. Though Donnie was living with his sister and her family at the time, Amy wasn't overly concerned because she knew he had plans on Sunday with a friend. But when he didn't show up for his night shift at the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters plant on Monday, and there was no evidence of him being home since Saturday, she grew anxious. The family began calling his cell, which eventually went straight to voicemail. On October 18, his family reported him missing to the Waterbury Police Department, who turned the case over to the Vermont State Police. State Police issued a press release that same day alerting the public to the missing person case. In early November, a follow-up public notice appealed to hikers and hunters in the woods to be on the lookout for Donnie’s red 1997 Ford F-150 pickup with Vermont license plate BGG890, a dual exhaust, a moon visor, a black tonneau cover, and NASCAR sticker numbers 27, 07 and 08 displayed in the rear window. But there was no sign of either Donnie or his big red truck. State police also searched the Waterbury reservoir as well as the granite quarries in Barre, to no avail. Police monitored his credit/debit cards, bank records, and cell phone records, but there has been no activity since his last phone call, which was to a friend on October 15 at 1:30 am, after
he was seen leaving the house party in Waitsfield. Witnesses say there were approximately 50-60 people at the party, which took place off Route 100 in Waitsfield, and no one seemed to notice anything wrong with Donnie. However, in the ensuing years, there seems to be a reluctance by any of the party attendees to discuss the case. Allegedly the party hosts were interviewed by law enforcement, and everyone agreed Donnie seemed fine; he did not seem intoxicated, and he did not leave with anyone. But the silence - especially in such a close-knit community as Waitsfield - seems greatly at odds with the characteristics of the town. The party attendees purportedly didn't even participate in search efforts for Donnie, though his many other friends did.
Where the case stands today
Police seemed to quickly settle on one of two theories. The first is that Donnie died by suicide due to depression over the breakup of his marriage, but that doesn't explain the disappearance of the truck, which has never been found. The second theory is that after leaving the party, he drove off the road when swerving to avoid a moose or other animal, and his remains have never been recovered. But that seems unlikely considering that Hurricane Irene in 2011 and similar weather activities have since greatly disrupted the landscape and have not uncovered anything to date, nor have the many hikers and hunters in that area stumbled upon his remains or those of his truck.
Donnie’s close friend Kris did not attend the party, but when interviewed for the Vanished Podcast, he seemed to feel something may have happened there. There were insinuations of an altercation over a potential love triangle and rumors about drugs and guns. Kris said that the hardest drug Donnie ever used was beer, but he could have gotten caught up in something he was unprepared to handle. There are rumors and theories that he was killed by someone at the party; his body burned, and his truck buried forever. In the years following his disappearance, police say they have received various tips, but none have led them any closer to solving the mystery of what happened to Donnie in those early Sunday morning hours of October 2006. To this day, law enforcement is still open to considering tips to see if any are credible. As for saying whether investigators suspect foul play, Lt. John MacCallum of the Vermont State Police said there’s not enough to go on. “We don't know what happened to him. We don't have information to say he was a victim of harm or to say that any other possible theory is valid,” he said. “Evidence is all still lacking.”
Today, Donnie's case is listed on the Vermont State Police website as an active missing person file. For over 15 long years, his family has waited for some sort of resolution as to what happened to Donnie. In October of 2021, they received assistance from Adventures with Purpose, an Oregon-based organization that works through Facebook and YouTube to examine marine locations where people have gone missing, and their cases have grown cold. The team conducted a search of the Waterbury Reservoir and at one point thought they may have spotted Donnie’s truck via sonar, but it was determined to be only an old boat that had settled at the bottom of the reservoir. So, the family continues to wait for a break in the case, which remains open.